Alex Dalli has been in the limelight for quite some time now. He was the victim of a smear campaign. But now that his post as Director of Prison is officially over, it is time that an account of his achievements is made public and officially acknowledged. Alex Dalli managed a penal community of over 1400 persons. What does it mean?
During Dalli’s tenure, he removed 50 container trucks containing junk from the prison, including asbestos/fridges/wood/metal and even a number of cars that had been abandoned there over a period of 30 years. He carried out a general refurbishment of the entire prison quarters and cleaned up the forensic unit.
Before Dalli arrived on the scene, there were 75 inmates in the forensic unit, many of whom were not there because they were actually mentally ill but were enjoying the conditions in this unit. Dalli reduced the number of inmates in this unit to just 15! This was the true number of inmates who actually needed psychiatric help.
He succeeded in taking effective control of all divisions and this was done despite the fact that the number of inmates in these divisions continued to rise over the years. The number of prisoners increased from 570 in 2018 to 730 in 2019, increasing further to 950 in 2020 to decrease to 850 in 2021.
He drastically reduced drugs until he finally had a totally drug-free prison, something that no other director had ever managed to achieve. This was possible through introducing six (6) new body scanners, four (4) baggage scanners, installing 780 new cameras, and dismissing unprofessional officers. Ten (10) officers had their employment at the prison terminated.
Hard-working officers started to get the promotions they deserved. Fifty (50) wardens were promoted to Senior Correctional Officers. There had not been such promotions for twenty (20) consecutive years. Wardens were promoted to the position of supervisor. In total, there were 70 promotions and there was only one case or petition, where a warden felt that he/she had been overlooked. These promotions improved the morale of all employees in the Correctional Services Division like never before.
Training started to be given to 350 firefighters to combat any fires in prison while another 350 were trained as first aiders. Others were trained to be part of the Special Operations Group (SOG). Even the Riot Squad started receiving training. They were trained by the K9 Squad of the UK. New anti-riot gear was purchased.
There was also training of the wardens in the use of non-lethal weapons besides the acquisition of trained dogs for drug detection and personal protection. This entailed building kennels. New cars were purchased for special duties.
Potable water was made available to all prisoners everywhere. Running water was provided to all cells for the first time in 170 years! Food preparation was improved with inmates working in the kitchen and being paid for their work.
What is even more successful is the removal of weapons that used to be held in cells. All forms and types of gangs were brought to an end and fighting between prisoners ended. A special rehabilitation centre was created in prison capable of homing 30 inmates and the first rehabilitation programme was started in Division 7 for these 30 prisoners.
The first electronic tagging in history for inmates was introduced in Division 7. Inmates also began being electronically tagged for the first time so that they could go home for contact visits. Electronic tagging was also extended to prisoners on parole. For the first time, over 60 prisoners spent Christmas with their children thanks to the introduction of electronic tagging. Also, for the first time, 75 Prisoners spent New Year with their children again thanks to electronic tagging. And thanks to electronic tagging, for the first time a prisoner was sent to witness the birth of his child!
Video calls were introduced for foreign inmates so that they could see their families abroad. Skype calls started to be made available all day long. Inmates started to receive payments for work done in prison. At present, there are 400 prisoners working in various jobs for which they get remuneration. Workshop equipment was bought to train inmates in various trades that are being offered at Corradino. Measures were taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in prison. These were successful as there was no spreading of the virus.
Wardens began receiving long and distinguished service medals. Wardens had stopped receiving medals since 1992. New recruits were enrolled. All in all, 120 joined the Prison Correctional Service. A new training academy was set up within prison to train new recruits. Even the number of professional personnel was increased. Dalli has left the prison with an additional 30 professionals besides a new medical clinic. Special quarters were created for them.
Today, at Corradino, there are two full-time physical-training instructors, three psychiatrists, and four doctors. All staff is benefitting from a new advantageous Collective Agreement. To conclude. Alex Dalli has succeeded in rebuilding a proper organisation and turned Corradino prison into a truly correctional service institution.